Please excuse the late post, as I have had a busy day shooting and little time to get to the keyboard. Now, it is almost time for dinner, so I’m just gonna jam this out to you!
Early on in the Rolex 24, the Delta
Wang Wing was the class of the field. I’m not sure what that says about everybody else’s performance, but it seems like the Panoz gang really had their stuff together. At least it did until it tried to lawn dart a stationary car.
Not long after, the #55 Mazda took the lead for real. No fuel economy or pit strategy, but really led the race, because they were fast. Until that is, a valvetrain failure in the new gasoline engine caused a fire.
In the end, it was the Extreme Speed Motorsport Honda powered Ligier that got it all right and took the win. In the post race interview, the man with the money, Ed Brown, very humbly reminded everyone that racing is a team sport and as he’s not the fastest driver on the squad, he only did a very short stint in order to ensure success for the team. It takes a really big guy to do that, so big kudos to Ed. Team owner and lead driver, Scott Sharp pointed out that the team is a family first and while they all are driven to win, it is just so much easier when they all love each other.
This may sound a bit too Summer campy for some, but I have spent some time with these guys during a private test session and they are legitimately the nicest dudes. It was great to see them give Honda their first win at Daytona.
The last ten minutes of the entire 24 hours were by far the most exciting, thanks to Oliver Gavin in the #4 Corvette in GTLM and team mate Antonio Garcia in the #3. The pair had been given the green light to duke it out as long as they didn’t do anything too stupid, so battled it out lap after lap, passing and re-passing until Gavin yanked the win out from under Garcia’s plate just metres from the finish. It was a thing of beauty.
The #44 Audi took the GTD win. I wish I had something to say here, but quite honestly, I didn’t pay too much attention to that class. I do know that at some point in the night, two very fast Lamborghinis were leading the class, until one of them made a bonehead move and crashed out the other one. Score for Audi! Oh, and Andy Lally is a funny guy. That is all.
It has to be a bit disheartening that the winners of the LMPC class, a prototype class, finished way back in 18th, well behind many production derived machines. Regardless, the dudes who drove the wheels off of the #85 to win the PC class did a great job. The most notable story about the group is that Kenton Koch is a graduate of the Mazda Road to 24 program. This dude won his way through the MX-5 Cup, Skip Barber series and IMSA Prototype Lites. We’ll have more on Koch in the coming days.
Now, it is time for dinner!